Cadoo review

You, review


I found Cadoo while exploring fitness challenge apps. It has been around for a few years. The premise is that you join challenges by paying an entry fee (say $10). Once you’ve completed the tasks for the challenge, the $10 goes back into your account. After the challenge ends, the funds from people who didn’t complete the challenge get distributed to all the people who completed the challenge. It is available on iOS and Android.

Getting Started

Install and sign up was pretty easy. I signed up with a Google account but signing up with email and password is pretty straightforward, although the email field didn’t seem to support password managers that well. Clicking on the password field showed the passwords helper, though.

Create Account

Joining a Challenge

There are free challenges to join if you want to check it out before you put money on the line. The search feature in the app works ok but could definitely be improved. You can search by name, which I didn’t find very useful since I didn’t really know what I was looking for. There are also filters for sport and many of the other fields. Once you filter by a sport, all of the other options for filtering go away. Also, not all sports are shown as filter options (Walking, Biking are missing) Here’s a challenge I created for 50 push-ups before the start of Fall, 2023 if you are looking for one to try.

Challenge Search tab Challenge Filter

Types of challenges

There are several types of challenges available in the app and they don’t all work the same. I’ll try to cover the details I’ve learned about each one.

Push-ups, Squats, Sit-ups

Join a Push-up Challenge

I’m grouping these together because they all function the same way.

  1. Go to the challenge page in the app
  2. Click “Record Push-ups” (or Squats or Sit-ups)
  3. Set up your phone to video you while you do the exercise.
  4. Press the green button to start recording
  5. Do as many reps as you want
  6. Press the red button to stop recording
  7. Press submit to upload the video. You can review the video beforehand if you want.
  8. Wait as the video uploads in the background and the progress is shown on a circle on the screen
  9. Click to dismiss the circle once the upload is complete
  10. Wait a few minutes to see how many reps you did.

I’ve done all three types of challenges and found that the automatic counting has been pretty accurate. The only time I’ve had issues is when a kid or a dog walked between the camera and me. They use a service called Guru that detects your movements and counts the reps for each exercise. The few times I've had the rep count reported as 0, I've reported it in the app with the correct rep count and it has been fixed within a day.

Some notes about these types of challenges:

  1. You can only get credit for one challenge at a time. So if you are in 3 concurrent push-up challenges for 100 push-ups each, you’ll need to do 300 push-ups to complete all 3 challenges.
  2. You only get credit for exercises you do after you join the challenge. Since you have to record the videos starting from the challenge page, this is obvious once you are in the app but is something to consider when you are searching for challenges.
  3. Failed uploads can be retried. If you have bad internet and the video upload fails, you can retry the upload by clicking on the bubble once you are in a place with better service. I’m not sure if this works if you have more than one video that failed to upload or if it is just for one.
  4. It isn’t super clear what range of motion is required.
  5. You have to record yourself doing the exercises in the app. There’s no option to upload a previously recorded video. I assume this is to cut down on cheating.

Running, Walking, Biking

These types of challenges require a connection to another service to record the apps. On iOS, you can connect:

Notably, Strava is absent here. It looks like they had it as an option in the early days but removed it for some reason. I’m guessing it was due to violating Strava terms of service or not being able to stay under the quotas.

For the 3rd party connections, they use a service called Try Terra, which makes it easy for app developers to integrate with many 3rd party fitness companies via a single SDK instead of connecting to each fitness SDK separately. One thing that’s weird about this is that you actually authorize TryTerra on the 3rd party sites instead of Cadoo. That could make it confusing if you ever want to revoke access. Also, I’m not sure what happens if you use multiple apps that use TryTerra. I assume that they just have one authorization to TryTerra on the 3rd party site instead on one for each app.


I’ve connected Garmin and Apple Health. I have a Garmin Forerunner 955.

These types of challenges are pretty straightforward to follow.

  1. Join the challenge
  2. Complete an activity - Do a run, walk, or cycle activity and make sure it uploads to the 3rd party site.
  3. Verify that you got credit - Go to the challenge in Cadoo and make sure it shows that you got credit for it.

Some notes about these types of challenges:

  1. You only get credit for activities done after you join the challenge. So if you join a challenge for 200 miles in August on August 20th and you’ve already run 150 miles you’ll still have to run 200 miles between Aug 20 and Aug 31.
  2. You can get credit for multiple challenges with a single activity. If you are in more than one running challenge at a time and you do a run, the distance will count toward all active challenges.
  3. If you connect multiple services, you may get duplicates. There is some automatic duplicate checking but it could be much better. Only outdoor activities count for these challenges. Running on a treadmill, cycling on a trainer or swimming don’t count (See Activity challenges below)

Daily Steps

These challenges are some of the easiest to complete. Just connect a 3rd party service and cadoo syncs your steps. You get a single steps entry per day that gets updated throughout the day.

Once you join a challenge, you get credit for all the steps that day and all the days going forward until the challenge ends. Daily steps count toward all the step challenges you are in at once.

There are a ton of step challenges and many of them are too easy and/or way too long in duration. One strategy is to join as many of these as you can and hope someone forgets to complete theirs. You could go on a big hike and come home and join 10 or 20 challenges and have completed all of them basically as soon as you join them. Since your entry fee is returned as soon as you complete a challenge, you can use the same money in your account for all of them. A few of these just clutter up the challenge page since they always show up at the top with the default sort of Most Popular.

Here’s one I created that still shouldn’t be too difficult but probably wouldn’t get done by most people without a conscious effort. It is to do 21,000 steps for 3 days before Fall, 2023


These are challenges to accumulate a specific amount of time in an activity. Each one has specific sports that are allowed. Notably, these can include indoor running, indoor biking and swimming.

I actually lost a challenge that I signed up for while doing this review because I didn't pay close enough attention and signed up for a 4 day, 30 minutes per day challenge that was only open for 4 days. I signed up after I had completed my run for that day and didn't realize my mistake until 2 days later.

Competitive Challenges

I’ve only seen one type of challenge in this section: Elimination Challenge.

These are challenges where you have 9 hours to accumulate as many reps of a specific exercise (push-ups, sit-ups, or squats) as possible. The entry fee is $10 and the bottom 50% of participants lose their entry fee to the top 50% of participants. There are 2 challenges per day per sport, starting at the same time each day, starting every 12 hours (9AM and 9PM PST). You can join the one in progress or the one that is starting next. I’ve never seen anyone compete in these and I haven’t entered one. Every time I check, no one is entered in them. I’ve heard that the standards for completing reps is much higher. I believe the videos are posted publicly and people are able to watch and report bad form. I don’t know if the reps are initially counted by Guru or if it is all counted by a person. I heard that these used to be more popular. I’m guessing that if you want to ensure you win, you’d want to have the entire 13 hours open to doing reps and that is probably not practical for most people. I think someone in Discord posted that you would generally have to do 300-400 reps.

Hosting challenges

You can create your own challenges and invite friends. This is another way to make money because you get $0.03 per participant and $3.00 per new user that signs up to cadoo and joins. You have to enter the challenge yourself and pay the entry fee up front when you create the challenge. This is a really cool feature and the types of challenges you can create are pretty flexible. All the challenges are public, which is good if you want to get more participation in your challenge.

This area could use some work, though. A lot of challenges get created that are too easy or too long (subjective, of course). There doesn’t seem to be any duplicate checking. It seems like it would be better to have more people join a single challenge than a bunch of challenges that are similar or exactly the same. Also, you add a title and description but there are no checks if they are accurate. I’ve seen a few that were much different than the actual challenge parameters.


At the top of the home page, there is a level ranking with the points you have earned toward the next level and the required points. I have no idea how you get points and if there is anything special about achieving a higher level. For example, I just advanced to level 15 and I’ve got 15 points towards the 1882 required to move to level 16.

Season 1/League

I’m not sure if Season 1 is just the name of the league portion of the app or if there will be a season 2 at some point. It is sprinkled around the app in a few places (like in the elimination challenge box). Here’s how I understand the league to work. There are 6 colors with each color having a 3 star, 2 star and 1 star level. So I believe there are 18 levels.

League Leaderboard Levels: Bronze III Bronze II Bronze I Silver III Silver II Silver I Gold III Gold II Gold I Diamond III Diamond II Diamond I Masters III Masters II Masters I Red III Red II Red I I’m not sure about the names for the Red levels since I’m not there yet but it shows as a red star.

League Points

Points: 3 pushups = 1 LP 3 situps = 1 LP 5 Squats = 1 LP 300 Steps = 1 LP To earn points, you must be enrolled in a challenge of that type. This is probably obvious for pushups, situps and squats since the only way to record those is inside a challenge. But the steps isn’t so obvious. If you want to move up in the league, make sure you are always enrolled in a step challenge.

How does it work? Each Sunday, the top ⅓ of each level moves up, the middle ⅓ stays in the same level and the bottom ⅓ moves down a level. You start out in Bronze 3 star level. The graphic in the app says the leaderboard resets every 3 days but I believe that is a typo.

It seems like there are 22 people in each leaderboard so I’m guessing that there are multiple leaderboards for each level but I can’t tell for sure. In my case, I’m on level Diamond I and The person in 1st place has been in my leaderboard for at least the last few weeks.

It’s kinda fun to see yourself move up each week but I’m not sure if the league level is used for anything else in the app. Maybe it is used for the Elimination Challenges and the reason why I never see anyone in those is because I’m only seeing my level.


This part of the app seems incomplete. You can see the profile of other people in challenges and on the league leaderboard. You can view the challenges they are in. You can view the progress they make in those challenges You can report suspicious activities on their account You can “follow” them

This feels like a good start but it feels incomplete right now. The follow button doesn’t seem to do much other than increment the count of followers and followed. I haven’t found a feed anywhere of activities from everyone I follow. Privacy may also be a concern. In the onboarding process you are encouraged to enter your name. I don’t recall any obvious notice that your name would be displayed on the leaderboards for everyone to see. When viewing activities, you can’t see the location or time that they are done, which helps with privacy but makes it harder if you are trying to figure out if someone has duplicate or overlapping activities and might be cheating.


Maybe this should be the first section of this review because it may be the most important when you are deciding to join. I don’t know the entire history of how payments work but from comments I’ve seen it seems like they have had a constant fight with people trying to cheat or commit fraud. I’m sure those experiences have led them to where they are now in respect to how they handle money.


You can fund your account with a credit card or paypal. Adding funds with a credit card is instant. Paypal takes 1-3 days. Both methods charge you 3.5%, though. I’ve added funds several times using a credit card and it has been a smooth process. Immediately after adding funds I was able to join a challenge with those funds. I haven’t tried Paypal for adding funds. Add Funds


You must have wagered your funds in a challenge before they are eligible for withdrawal. This rule was added in the past month or so and I’m not sure why. This isn’t clear when you add funds so I assume some people may be put off by it but really there isn’t a good reason to add funds to your account unless you plan to enter challenges. I wonder if they had an issue with people trying to launder money or move money out of stolen credit cards to other accounts. You pay another 3.5% fee on all withdrawals. You can withdraw to a bank account or Paypal They process withdrawals manually once a week.

I withdrew $20 just to test out the process. It did not go smoothly but I eventually got my money. The first few times I tried to withdraw to my bank account through Stripe, the app crashed or froze on me. I finally was able to initiate the withdrawal to Paypal and it showed as pending for a few weeks. I finally reached out to customer support. They were very responsive and told me that it was stuck because the email address on my paypal account was different than the one on my cadoo account. They were able to cancel the request and I added my cadoo email address to my paypal account and tried again and it worked. I just tried cashing out to a bank account via stripe again and I get an error about an email address not matching.


There isn’t a good place to get a full view of what is happening with your money. The stats tab on the profile page gives a pretty good overview but it doesn’t include host rewards. The Balance tab on the profile page shows the host rewards but it is wrong for me. It is showing $0.00 but it should be at least $3.15.

Balance Tab Stats Tab

There is also a transaction history that shows some of the most recent transactions. But it seems like there is a bug where when you get to the bottom it just reloads the latest transactions and adds them to the bottom instead of loading older transactions. It would be really handy to get a csv export of all transactions to verify the accounting but I didn’t see an option for that.


To see how you did in individual challenges, once the challenge has been over for a few days, you can go to the challenge and see who completed it and how much each person got paid out.

Winners and Loser


In addition to email support, the company has a discord server that anyone can join. There hasn’t been a ton of activity (except for a few people, I assume employees, who post “gm” in the gm channel every day). I do like the idea of having an open chat server where people in the company can communicate directly with customers.


Here are a few things I'd like to see that would help clean up the app and make it more usable.

Final Thoughts

My impression after using the app for a few months is that it has a lot of promise but hasn’t quite found the mixture of features and marketing to get it to really take off. The idea of making money for completing challenges initially sounds very appealing to people but the reality is that it is really hard to even make your money back after the fees on participation challenges, let alone make money. I’ve deposited $320 in the app so far. To make back all my fees for the deposit and withdrawal, I’ll need to make back over $22. Currently, I’m at less than $4 in winnings (not counting the example above that I haven’t been paid for yet). And since starting this review, I've lost a $40 challenge so it will take even longer to get back to even. Hosting challenges seems like it might be lucrative if you can recruit a lot of people to join them.

The app overall is pretty solid but I feel like there should be more transparency about the fees and details of the challenges. I think there’s more work to be done to ensure more uptime and better withdrawal experience, too. Where does the money that is deposited go? Is it in an escrow account? Do they have it in a money market account or other investment where they are trying to make some interest on it? If all the users decided to withdraw their money, would cadoo be able to cover that?

I’m curious what’s on the roadmap for them next.

For now, I’m way behind on my 1000 push-up challenge for August so it’s time for some push-ups.

© Reid Weber.RSS